Safety Precautions

Warning: Catalina Island is a wild area.

Inherent dangers exist within wild areas. Be cautious of the following:



Make sure to carry plenty of water. Most of the Island’s streams have dried up by May, and the daytime summer temperature can be over 90 degrees. In arid environments, the rule of thumb is you will need one gallon of water for a full day of hiking. It is always better to carry more than you think you will need.



Bison are wild animals. Bison are large wild animals that can cause serious injury and even death. They can accelerate quickly to 35 mph and jump over 6 feet. Never approach, touch or attempt to feed bison. If you feel threatened, identify an escape route. Place a large object between you and the bison (tree, rock, vehicle), and give the bison a path to avoid you. Never box in a bison with people being both in front and behind it.

Bison Safety Information


Photo by Jack Baldelli


Poison Oak

Poison oak is common in Catalina’s canyons and creek-beds. Staying on established trails and wearing long pants and long-sleeve shirts are the best defenses. If you brush against poison oak, wash the affected area as soon as possible with a poison oak soap (e.g. Tecnu) or soap and water. Remove all affected clothing directly to a washing machine. It is easy to re-spread the oils after your hike. Not everyone is allergic or allergic after their first exposure to poison oak.



Rattlesnakes can be seen all year. However they are more commonly seen April through October. It’s rare to see or hear a snake along trails and roads, but it’s worth it to be careful. Snakes are cold-blooded, so in the heat of the day they’re often in the shade of tall grass, and at night they will sometimes try to absorb the heat off the blacktop roads. And even baby rattlesnakes are poisonous.

Photo by Jack Baldelli

Rattlesnake Bites

If you, or someone in your group get bitten by a rattlesnake, quick medical attention is critical. Any bite from a rattlesnake should be regarded as a life-threatening medical emergency that requires immediate treatment from trained medical professionals.

For more information and in an emergency call the California Poison Control System at (800) 222-1222 or 911.